Traditional school alternatives: Is one right for your child?
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By GreatSchools Staff
This very specific curriculum provides students with the information they need to develop "cultural literacy," or familiarity with important, nationally-shared knowledge and concepts. According to the Core Knowledge Foundation, an independent non-profit founded in 1986, this course of study promotes academic excellence and greater fairness in schools.
As of 2010, there were 770 official Core Knowledge schools and 414 preschools in the United States, many of which are public charter schools. Students in these schools use approved supplies and textbooks to learn the Core Knowledge sequence, gradually building on what they learn and completing academic goals as they move from grade to grade.
While it may seem that such specific instruction could leave out important information or prevent parental participation and teacher creativity, supporters argue that the consistency of the Core Knowledge curriculum motivates students, teachers and parents alike to get involved in education.
International Baccalaureate (IB)
The IB academic program, taught in 125 countries worldwide, is a pre-university curriculum known for high academic standards and an emphasis on international understanding and citizenship. The Primary Years Programme, for students up to the age of 12, focuses on language, communication and reflective thinking. Students in the Middle Years Programme learn eight subjects, participate in community service and other extracurricular requirements, and complete long-term personal projects each year.
These earlier programs are designed to prepare students for the final IB curriculum, which begins at age 16. The Diploma Programme may be right for your high-schooler if she seeks a challenging college prep program with greater opportunities for critical thinking. The program can be found at 1,389 (and counting) schools nationwide, including many magnet schools in less affluent areas.